President Obama joked, preached and wept in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday, outlining how he will use his authority to fight gun violence but revealing along the way that an appeal to the heart may be the most powerful tool he can muster.
With tears wetting his face at one point, Obama mourned the deaths of innocents and preached the right of children to attend school without fear of a mass shooting, and he voiced anger about the countryâ€™s epidemic of gun violence and his well-funded opposition.
â€œYes, the gun lobby is loud and it is organized in defense of making it effortless for guns to be available for anybody, any time,â€ he said. â€œWell, you know what, the rest of us, we all have to be just as passionate. We have to be just as organized in defense of our kids.â€
By choosing an emotional speech over a more sober argument designed to persuade lawmakers, Obama underscored that in effect he was giving up on Congress to act on the issue, even though his own ability to act is limited.